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State v. Journet

Supreme Court of Maine

August 14, 2018

STATE OF MAINE
v.
MICHAEL JOURNET

          Argued: May 15, 2018

          Leonard I. Sharon, Esq. (orally), Andrucki & King, Lewiston, and Jamesa J. Drake, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, Auburn, for appellant Michael Journet

          Maeghan Maloney, District Attorney, and Tyler J. LeClair, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District IV, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          ALEXANDER, J.

         [¶1] Michael Journet appeals from a judgment of conviction entered by the trial court (Kennebec County, Stanfill, J.) for aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 1105-A(1)(B)(1) (2017), following his conditional guilty plea, see M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(a)(2). On appeal, Journet challenges the order of the motion court (L. Walker, J.) denying his motion to suppress evidence seized by, and statements made to, the police after he was arrested without a warrant. Journet argues that the officers lacked probable cause to effectuate a warrantless arrest, and that, as a result of the unlawful arrest, the statements made and evidence seized after the arrest are subject to suppression. We affirm the judgment.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         [¶2] On December 18, 2015, Journet was charged by complaint with two counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs (Class A), 17-A M.R.S § 1105-A(1)(B)(1) and (H) (2017), and one count of violating a condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A) (2017). On March 24, 2016, he was indicted by the Kennebec County grand jury for the felony charges. On November 29, 2016, the court conducted a hearing on Journet's motion to suppress the heroin seized and the statements he made to the arresting officers on December 16, 2015.

         [¶3] In its order dated February 9, 2017, the motion court denied Journet's motion and included the following specific findings, all of which are fully supported by the record. On December 16, 2015, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a residence in Augusta. Illegal drugs were discovered at the residence. A cooperating individual at the residence advised that his drug supplier would be arriving at the residence that evening- between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m-to deliver ten grams of heroin. The cooperating individual told the officers that the dealer was a black male whom he knew as "Troy," that he would be driving a blue BMW SUV and coming from the Portland area, and that "his known practice was to transport heroin inside of his pants."

         [¶4] In its order, the trial court also found that the "cooperating [individual] set up a buy with his supplier . . . memorialized in text communications" and that the detective "observed the sale orchestrated through text message." Although the record does not specifically support a finding that the detective observed the cooperating individual "set up a buy," it does support the court's finding that a "buy" had been arranged between the cooperating individual and his supplier, and that the officer observed that the buy had been "orchestrated through text message."

         [¶5] At approximately 6:40 p.m., a little later than the time given by the individual at the residence, a blue BMW SUV with a black male driver and a white passenger was seen turning onto the dead-end street. At that time, law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle. Journet, the driver of the blue BMW SUV, was arrested and later confessed to the possession of heroin.

         [¶6] Based on these findings, the motion court concluded that, at the time Journet's vehicle was stopped and he was apprehended in the course of committing a felony drug offense, law enforcement officers, collectively, had more than enough information to establish probable cause to stop the vehicle and arrest Journet. After entry of the motion court's decision, no motion for further findings was filed by Journet.[1] See M.R.U. Crim. P. 23(c).

         [¶7] On September 28, 2017, the court [Stanfill, J.) accepted Journet's conditional guilty plea to Count 1, aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 1105-A(1)(B)(1), pursuant to M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(a)(2). Count 2, the second count for aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 1105-A(1)(H), was dismissed.[2] On November 1, 2017, the court sentenced Journet to a term of imprisonment of eight years with all but four years suspended, as well as four years of probation and a $400 fine. The execution of the sentence was stayed ...


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